I am pleased to share with our members a series of advocacy and public outreach efforts that reflect the association’s renewed emphasis on highlighting the valued contributions of our members and our field, and the continued emphasis we place on increasing the awareness of key public officials about issues of concern to us. A partial list of these issues includes protecting human rights, cultural resources and language diversity, educational reform, immigration reform, monitoring transformations in higher education and related labor issues, shaping sustainable models of open access publishing, influencing regulatory changes to the Common Rule and related research ethics concerns, mitigating the disruptive effects of economic globalization, and heralding human dimensions of global environmental change.
We are actively involved with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Coalition. We have strengthened and made more transparent the process by which our United Nations NGO credentials can be made available to our members. We are well on the way to establishing our credentials as a UNESCO affiliate. This past year, we have joined forces with a range of organizations (American Association of Universities, Consortium of Social Science Associations, Federation of Associations for Behavioral and Brain Sciences, National Humanities Alliance, and Coalition for National Science Funding) to make our views known about the importance of continued public support for research in the social sciences and humanities. As most of you know, a provision was added to the US Congress’s 2013 budget that denied funding to the National Science Foundation’s Political Science program unless those funds are directly tied to national security or jobs creation. This budget restriction remains in effect while the US government is still funded through a continuing budget resolution. That could easily have been the anthropology program.
After a 12-year absence, AAA is rejoining the Washington DC-based Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA). COSSA serves as a bridge between the academic research community and the Washington policymaking community. Its members consist of more than 100 professional associations, scientific societies, universities, research centers and institutes. In its many activities, COSSA represents the needs and interests of social and behavioral scientists; educates federal officials about social and behavioral science; informs the science community about relevant federal policies; and COSSA works with federal agencies and with the relevant congressional committees and offices to explain the importance of social and behavioral sciences to America’s most pressing problems. COSSA also works with the Coalition for National Science Funding, the Coalition to Promote Research, the Coalition for the Advancement for Health through Behavioral and Social Science Research, and the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science.
I am also pleased to announce that in this next year, we will be working towards establishing the fourth Wednesday in February as National Anthropology Day in the US. We are seeking a Congressional Resolution that will recognize this as an official day to acknowledge the contributions of anthropology to society. National Anthropology Day will involve an extensive series of activities including: student-organized events to promote the discipline on their respective campuses; museum officials holding anthropology-related events and seminars; an official advocacy day on Capitol Hill where AAA leadership and staff meet with appropriate legislators (or their staff); and a briefing on Capitol Hill, where anthropological perspectives on the day’s top issues are discussed by members of the discipline with subject matter expertise.
In short, 2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year. Through a variety of activities, we will be well positioned to be heard on issues that are important to us, which will increase public awareness of the important work that we do. This will benefit the field in many ways, resulting in greater exposure to anthropology among secondary students, an increased appreciation for the value of an anthropology degree, increased undergraduate enrollments, and public support for research funding in the social sciences and humanities.